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More than 80,000 people are on the barred list according to latest DBS figures

If you are included on a barred list (Children’s or Adult’s) you will be unable to work in regulated activity with any group from which you are barred; you will also be breaking the law if you seek to work in regulated activity. Likewise, any employer who knowingly employs somebody on the barred list will also be breaking the law.

If you receive a caution or conviction for certain ‘relevant offences’ (known as autobar offences) and you work or have worked in regulated activity in the past (or may do so in the future) then the DBS may decide to add you to one or both barred lists. The DBS will contact you in writing and in many cases, will give you the opportunity to make representation to them as to why you shouldn’t be included on one (or both lists). If you are cautioned or convicted of an automatic inclusion offence, you will not be permitted to make representation.

However, many people face being barred years after they were cautioned or convicted, usually prompted by an application for an enhanced and barring DBS check.

How do you get referred to the DBS?

Referrals to the DBS come from 3 sources:

  1. Referral cases – Received from employers and other regulated activity providers when they have dismissed, removed or would have removed (had the individual not left) an employee from working in regulated activity.
  2. Disclosure information – Received when an applicant with cautions, convictions (and sometimes police intelligence) for relevant offences applies for an enhanced with barring list check.
  3. Automatic Barring (Autobar) cases – Received when an individual has been cautioned or convicted for a relevant offence or is issued with a Risk of Sexual Harm Order/Sexual Risk Order (if details have been provided to the DBS by the Home Office).

Recent figures released from the DBS show that in the year 2020/21, 20,675 barring referrals came from automatic barring cases with a further 12,280 cases being investigated after an application for an enhanced and barring check is made.

How many people are on the barred list?

The number of people included in one or more barred lists has been steadily increasing year on year since 2011 from 37,199 to 81,941. (The total number includes those who have remained on the list from previous years).

During 2020/21 a further 4,020 people were added to one or both barred lists, a 4.68% increase on the previous year. However, it should be noted that this is one of the smallest increases over the course of the periods recorded which is good to see.

Receiving a ‘Minded to Bar’ letter

Our helpline is regularly contacted by individuals who, having applied for an enhanced and barring DBS check, receive a letter from the DBS informing them that they are being considered for inclusion on the Children’s and/or Adults’ Barred List. Many of these individuals make successful representations to the DBS and are able to continue working with vulnerable groups. Nevertheless, waiting for a decision causes huge amounts of worry and anxiety and for some, may lead to a job offer being withdrawn.

Some of these barring investigations will have been triggered as a result of an employer carrying out an ineligible check. Not only is this unlawful but as can be seen, the potential impact on an individual can be enormous. Therefore, if you believe that an employer is carrying out an ineligible check, then you should challenge this at the earliest opportunity.

If you do receive a Minded to Bar letter, don’t panic but don’t ignore it.

If you do nothing then you will automatically be placed on one or both barred lists which means you’ll no longer be able to work in regulated activity. The DBS have no wish to bar everybody who has ever been cautioned or convicted of a relevant offence and will seek to include only those who are working in regulated activity who could be seen to present a risk of harm to children or vulnerable adults. When making a barring decision, the DBS will act independently, weighing up the cases presented by both the individual and the other parties.

We have further information on making representations and appealing a DBS decision but if you would prefer to speak to one of our advisors about a barring issue, please contact our helpline.


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    1. Hi

      Please feel free to give our helpline a call (01634 247350 or 07824 113848) who will be able to answer any questions you have about being placed on a DBS Barred List.

      Best wishes


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Photo of Head of Advice, Debbie Sadler
Debbie Sadler
Head of Advice

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